Week 3 Starts and Sits September 22, 2016  |  Jackson Safon


We’re exactly half of a football deflation suspension into the NFL season and Tom Brady’s team is starting a third string rookie on national television!

Two weeks in and some patterns are starting to form. The difficult part is wading through the noise to find the actually important information. And what’s more important than deciding who to start and who to sit?

Now comes the “Let’s check how poorly Jackson did last week” part of the program. I actually nailed a few of them: start Matt Ryan, start Demarco Murray, start Dez Bryant, sit Todd Gurley. I also absolutely flopped on a few: sit Corey Coleman, start Gary Barnidge, sit Martellus Bennett.

Let’s get to it.

Quarterbacks

Start: Andrew Luck vs. SD

Nothing like the highest implied point total of the week to help ease the pain of a rough loss to the Broncos. The Colts and Chargers matchup is expected to be the second highest scoring game of the week by far and Andrew Luck should be one of the prime beneficiaries of that.

While the Chargers lead the league in pressures so far this season, they also are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks through two weeks. They allowed the fifth-most points to signal callers last year as well, so this has been a recurring problem for the Chargers. Losing Donte Moncrief to injury certainly isn’t good for Luck, but at least for this week you can start him with the same amount of confidence as you had drafting Antonio Brown with the number one overall pick.

Sit: Blake Bortles vs. Bal

The garbage time hero is ready to roll once again, but has a much tougher matchup this week. While the sample size is small and they haven’t faced anybody elite yet, the Ravens have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. In fact, the Ravens have only allowed 9.5 points per games to quarterbacks in ESPN standard scoring.

This game does have the fourth highest expected point total of the week, but if it took to the fourth quarter for Bortles to score a touchdown against the Chargers, I worry how long it will take against the Ravens.

Running Backs

Start: Theo Riddick @ GB

Riddick is already playing outstanding, as the PPR RB8 on the season. He’s already scored two touchdowns, only one shy of his total for the entire 2015 season. While that might signal his touchdown numbers won’t continue, his role is likely to increase with Ameer Abdullah being placed on injured reserve.

Riddick will keep his stranglehold on the third down duties, and has a chance to get double digit carries every game. This matchup has the third highest over/under of the week, so Vegas is expecting a shootout. Matt Stafford has extreme trust in Riddick and will continue to be his check down throughout the season, and particularly in this matchup.

Sit: LeGarrette Blount vs. Hou

Blount has averaged 15 PPR points per game so far this season, which is good enough to put him at RB11. The downside for Blount this week though is that the Patriots are underdogs. When New England is an underdog, Blount averages almost three fewer points per game than when they’re favorites.

Part of the reason they’re home underdogs is because they’ll be starting rookie third-stringer Jacoby Brissett. While on the surface you might take that as the Patriots will be feeding the running game, the problem lies with the fact that Brissett will probably struggle to move the ball. Fewer first downs means fewer possessions and less chances at touchdowns. Blount is a scary play against a stout Texans defense.

Wide Receivers

Start: Willie Snead vs. Atl

The new Fast Willie has been an absolute monster through two weeks, averaging 24 points per game as the WR3. This week he takes on the Atlanta Falcons, whose offense has been firing so far. Whenever the Saints play at home it’s always good to target their offense, but this week, Snead in particular is a great play.

Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant is slowly becoming one of the best in the league, but he will most likely stay matched up against Brandin Cooks all day. Snead will have the freedom to operate from the slot and will feast against a Falcons defense that has allowed almost 30 points per game through two weeks.

Sit: Demaryius Thomas @ Cin

Thomas had a surprisingly successful week two, considering he had a hip injury that some feared was serious. This week, he’s part of a game that has the third lowest expected point total of the weekend. While the Bengals defense hasn’t been amazing as a unit, allowing 23 points per game, it has shut down opposing wide receivers at an alarming rate.

Antonio Brown was held to only 39 yards last week, and no receivers caught touchdowns for Pittsburgh. In week one, Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker combined for only five receptions and 69 yards. Thomas is notoriously bad in the red zone, so going up against a defense that has really limited opposing wide receivers is not ideal.

Tight Ends

Start: Antonio Gates @ Ind

Gates has not been very Gates-like so far this year, totaling only 15 points through two games. He did reach the end zone last week, but as a whole it’s been rather disappointing. I expect that to change this week as he’s part of that inviting Colts-Chargers matchup.

The Chargers offense was outstanding last week even without Keenan Allen, so Rivers will have plenty of attempts. I expect Gates to be more involved in the offense this week and have a touchdown as well.

Sit: Martellus Bennett vs. Hou

Whoops. I made this mistake last week and now I’m dipping back into the well. As I said in the Blount portion of the program, I don’t expect the Patriots offense to be working very well this week, particularly in the passing game.

Plus, with Brissett starting just his first game, I expect more max protect from the Patriots than normal, meaning Bennett will have to stay in and block. Bennett is still the premier red zone threat for the Patriots with Rob Gronkowski sidelined, so there’s always a chance he gets into the end zone. I just don’t expect the Patriots offense to do much at all this week.

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